For a long time now, we have seen fairytales being adapted for the silver screen. But in most of the adaptations, we have always seen the filmmakers taking a classical approach to the story and hardly adding his or her own interpretation to the same. While most have chosen this path, there have been some filmmakers who decided to take the road less traveled. One such filmmaker is Robert Stromberg, who made the film ‘Maleficent’ based on a screenplay by Linda Woolverton. The film basically tells the story of ‘The Sleeping Beauty’, but takes a revisionist approach in the narrative. Here, the central character is not Belle, but Maleficent, the malicious witch whose curse results in Belle’s eternal sleep.
Maleficent has herself grown up to be betrayed by the man she presumed was the love of her life. Her boyfriend Stefan had betrayed her to please King Henry and marry his daughter. Maleficent is the ruler of the Moors which Henry wanted for himself. When he fails to do so, he sends out a declaration that whoever manages to kill Maleficent will become king after his death and will also get to marry his daughter. Stefan becomes king, and it is his daughter Belle upon whom the wrath of Maleficent falls. This is a dark fantasy film which has been able to capture the imagination of the audiences, making it a huge success. Angelina Jolie plays the leading character with finesse, and it is because of her magnetic screen presence that we remain glued to the screen throughout the film. The use of CGI here is also appreciable. If you have enjoyed watching ‘Maleficent’, here are some more films you can check out. You can watch many of these movies like ‘Maleficent’ on Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime.
7. Snow White and the Huntsman (2012)
‘Snow White and the Huntsman’ is the directorial debut of Rupert Sanders, and just like ‘Maleficent’, this film is also a retelling of the famous fairy tale ‘Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs’ from a different perspective. Here, we get to see how Snow White first came under the control of her evil stepmother in the first place. The character of the stepmother, Ravenna, is portrayed by Charlize Theron with immaculate brilliance, and because we know some of her backstory, it also becomes easier to understand the motives behind her actions. When her Magic Mirror tells her that Snow White (Kristen Stewart) is going to be the cause of her destruction, Ravenna instructs Eric The Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) to take her into the jungle and kill her. Eric, however, refuses and instead becomes Snow White’s protector. Theron and Hemsworth are the two best performers in this film. The feminist themes highlighted in the narrative are also commendable.
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6. Alice In Wonderland (2010)
Tim Burton is the master of dark fantasy. With his fertile imagination, the director has always managed to cook up plots and characters which have tickled our imagination and have pushed the boundaries of what is possible in fantasy films. This 2010 retelling of the classic Lewis Carroll novella is another testament to what Burton can achieve if he has the right material to work with. In this story, Alice is a 19-year-old teenager who steps into Wonderland after going down the rabbit hole. There, she meets the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp) and gets involved in the massive fight between the evil Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter) and the pious White Queen (Anne Hathaway). With amazing set designs and some extraordinary performances, ‘Alice In Wonderland’ has truly come out as something new and fresh, and despite its source material, it does have the tim Burton hallmark all over it.
5. Beowulf (2007)
Robert Zemeckis, who is famous for the ‘Back To The Future‘ trilogy, ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit?’ and other such iconic films, is also the director of this 2007 motion-capture animation film. ‘Beowulf’ is regarded to be the first epic written in the English language. The story of the film revolves around the eponymous character who is a great warrior. On the instructions of the Danish king, Beowulf kills a giant monster called Grendel who has been wreaking havoc in the kingdom for quite some time now. Grendel’s mother is naturally furious with her child’s death and vows to take revenge. Actors like Anthony Hopkins, Robin Wright, and Angelina Jolie provided their voices for this film. The animation is surely the most impressive aspect of ‘Beowulf’. The film is beautifully written and keeps the audiences engaged throughout its running time.
4. Alice Through the Looking Glass (2016)
The sequel to the 2010 film ‘Alice In Wonderland’, this film borrows its basic idea from Carroll’s book ‘Through The Looking Glass’, but then follows its own story written by Linda Woolverton. In this story, Alice discovers a magical mirror that takes her back to Wonderland. Once there, Alice discovers that her friend, the Mad Hatter, has become a bit disillusioned after his family has gone missing. This makes Alice, on the advice of the White Queen, go to Time himself and ask him to save Hatter’s family. It is only later that she discovers that Time is in cahoots with the Red Queen and is himself behind the disappearance of Hatter’s family. The film did bomb at the box office, but the performances of Depp, Anne Hathaway, Sacha Baron Cohen, and Helena Bonham Carter are as brilliant as usual.
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3. Brave (2012)
Pixar has always maintained a standard in all of their films, and their innovative ways have never hampered their eagerness to tell a fascinating story. The 2012 film ‘Brave’ is also a testament to this fact. The film centers around an independent archer called Merida. She refuses to be married off to the son one of her father’s allies, and instead humiliates her suitors by defeating them in an archery contest. However, this becomes disobedience on her part of an ancient custom and results in the release of some threatening dark forces. Now it is upon Merida to use her archery skills and her innate bravery to restore back order in the kingdom. The film is beautifully made, and has enough twists and turns for children to fall in love with it in no time at all.
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2. Oz the Great and Powerful (2013)
L. Frank Baum’s Oz novels are iconic works of literature that have often found themselves being adapted for the silver screen. Since the iconic 1939 film ‘The Wizard of Oz’, many films and television shows have been based in the magical land of Oz. ‘Oz the Great and Powerful’ serves as a prequel to the 1939 film, and tells the story of stage magician and con artist Oscar Diggs. Diggs accidentally finds himself in the Land of Oz after being blown to the place on a hot air balloon. Once there, he comes to know that there is a prophecy he must fulfill in any way possible. The only problem is that in this land of magic, it is only Diggs who has no magical powers.The film lacks a certain coherence in plot, but makes it up with its stunning visuals.
1. The Brothers Grimm (2005)
We have been talking about the retelling of fairy stories in this list, and so it is only fair that we end this list with stories about the two people who collected these tales into one book and made them easily accessible for the masses. In this 2004 film, the two Grimms brothers are portrayed by Matt Damon and Heath Ledger, and the story follows their adventures as they go around cheating people by telling them the stories of magic that they have gathered. The problems in their lives surface when the brothers are thrown in a situation where they have to fight against some magical curse in real life. Failing to do so will result in the death of a number of young girls. The film moves at a steady pace and boasts of some beautiful locations. However, the story is pretty run-of-the-mill and does not have anything new and exciting to offer.
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